Several more hours had passed in silence. I just sat there, being held by Lucas. He couldn’t think of anything to console me. I could think of anything that didn’t make me want to cry more. Angie, sweet, beautiful Angie. Her cute little smile, her quiet demeanor. I wanted to lay my head in her lap and have this all be a dream. But reality was rearing its ugly head each time I tried to dream. Then the door opened and the man who had been patrolling came in with two metal trays. There was a section at the bottom of the barred entrance that opened, with him shoving the trays in. The bars shut, and the man left.
“I’m guessing that that is dinner.” He got up and shuffled over. My stomach made some noise. Guess some food couldn’t hurt.
The trays had a plastic cover, which we pulled back. Steam came out. Why were the trays not hot? That’s neat. Maybe they only looked metal. Neat. The food was breaded chicken strips, with rice. There were peas and carrots as well. It was in decent portions, too. I had no idea how long I had been under, but still, having not eaten for an undetermined amount of time, it felt good.
As the two of us ate, part of me wanted to talk about something, anything, to pass the time. Then a thought came to me.
“I think there’s something wrong with me.”
He looked over, taking a bite. “What do you mean?”
“I’ve been having these weird dreams lately. They’re so vivid, like they are actually happening. What’s more, the dreams have been coming true! Exactly as I have seen them. It’s like, I saw the moment when I was outside of the sub, watching the lights from the coral. I even heard what you said. And that wasn’t the first time. It’s been happening for a couple years. Granted, ever since I got on this mission, it’s been happening more.”
His face was thoughtful. “See anything about what happens here?”
I thought for a moment. “I saw something. We’re on a ship. It looked like this. We’re running down a hall, in suits like the ones we had back on Europa. There is an explosion in front of us. It’s so big that we nearly get caught up in it. All of the air gets sucked out, and us with it.”
Then it hit me.
“Wait, if these dreams are events that are going to happen, then we do get out of here!”
He put an arm around me. “So it would seem.”
Then the nagging doubt came back. “What do you think it means?”
There was a pause as he thought. “I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve read stories that might give me some ideas.”
That got my attention. “What kinds of stories?!”
He took another bite, then looked at the bars. “There are people being found, who have talents that people can’t quite understand. It first appeared on the Colonies orbiting Earth. In fact, there has never been a confirmed case from anyone who has lived most of their lives planetside. These people seem to have an understanding of certain things that transcends all boundaries.”
A tad confusing. “What do you mean?”
“Well, there was one example of a ship Captain who could navigate the stars without using any instrumentation. He just seemed to have an innate knowledge of where things in space were. Amazed his crew. Then another who could feel when there was a flaw in the ship he was on. The guy was an engineer. Every time he got a ‘feeling’ about a certain flaw in the ship, the crew knew to check it out. He was always right. Always.”
Now this was cool! “What do they call these people?!”
“Well, there is debate as to whether or not these reports are even accurate. But among those who have studied this phenomenon, they call them ‘Evolved Humans.’ Or just ‘Evos,’ for short. Evos are viewed as freaks by people planetside. Among Colonials, to have Evo qualities is considered an honor.”
This got me all kinds of pumped up. “So, how are my dreams connected?”
“That part eludes me. It could be in any number of ways. However, there is your ability to know how to hack machines. You’ve been doing it almost all your life. The moment you were given a Band, you found ways to use it to interface and fuck with machines. That must have some connection. Of course, there are no tests, to date, which can detect Evos. Hence why some people regard them as unreal. For me, I believe that they are.”
Then a roadblock came to me. “But wait, my parents have lived on Mars for almost my whole life.”
“None of your family were Colonials?”
I thought for a moment. “Well, my mom came from a Colonial family. Third generation.”
“Well, there ya go. We may have our connection to you being an Evo.”
“Do you believe that Evos are real?”
He got thoughtful for a second. “I do. We’ve already got transhumans in the form of cyborgs. Human evolution could be the next step. Who knows.”
Again, I had more respect for him. Eating became much easier after that. There were so many questions. If I was an Evo, what did that mean? Something to research, assuming that I got out of here.
That night, I had another dream.
The world was blurry. I was sitting in a room, and it was clear that I was in pain. The pain was everywhere. I looked down and saw that I was in underwear. There were red lights that were flickering on the wall behind me. I was on a bed that was shaped like a heart. Something, I felt older. There was another girl. She wasn’t moving. I got off the bed, shuffling over to her. She was in her 20’s. The blur, I couldn’t make out much about her. Just the blonde hair. Blood was flowing out of her mouth. My ocular interface came online, doing a scan. There was no pulse. I was in a room, in my underwear, with a dead person. Why was my body so sore? I looked down again. There were bruises. Lots of them. What happened here?!
Part of me wanted to flee, but knew not to. There was nowhere to go. This was all there was. Looking around again, there was a flickering light in the bathroom. Was someone in there? Again, it was so painful to drag myself over there. Why couldn’t I remember what happened? Something was very wrong. Opening the door, I saw a man, face-down in the toilet. The place was a mess. The smell was rancid. Everything about this place was wrong. But what should I do? Just then, the man looked up. He started screaming. Very quickly, I backed off. Tripped over something, smacked my head on the floor. Disorientation, screaming, fear. Every part of me kept thinking that this was just a bad dream and that I was going to wake up from it.
That was when something came into focus. It was a silver gun barrel. For a second, time stopped. The screaming became a droning sound. The world was on hold. Just staring down the barrel of that gun. It was all I could do. That was when it went off. I was thrown backwards. The last thing I saw was my hand, in front of me. Did I land on my side? My fingers were twitching, as the world went black.
In a flash, I sat back up, with my voice trying to scream but being unable. My breath was coming out so fast. Was that my future? To die, beaten in some honeymoon suite?! The fuck it was! I wasn’t going to let that be how it ends. I got back on the floor, in front of the camera. To hell with being caught. Entering the system again, I was able to retrace my steps. The code wasn’t changing nearly as often. The ship was moving again! This was bad. It means that they felt that the SDF was not a threat anymore. Where were they?! I had to reach them.
Once I was back in the communications grid, I reached out. Another site-to-site message. Told them to get their fucking asses in gear. I was not going to die like that dream! If what I saw was the future, then I was going to change it. You bet your fucking ass I was! To be some hooker with a bullet in her face. Yeah, not going to happen.
It was done, and I unplugged. Felt better. So much better. Walked over to the cot where Luc was sleeping. He was against the wall. Kinda cute. Snuggled in behind him and put my arm around his waist. There was a groan.
“Wha…what are you doing?”
“Getting some sleep.”
“But why are you-”
He didn’t press the issue. I guess that he could feel my tension. My dreams were better that night.
The next day was uneventful. The guy who patrolled this part of the world only came to give us our three-meals-a-day. Super. Gave Lucas and I some more time to talk. I didn’t tell him about the dream. It would just make him scared. Not to mention, the memory was too cruel. Time seemed to drone on endlessly in that place. The longer the hours went, the more terrified I became. Was this it? I end up on TJ and die in a brothel. A cyborg who meets her end in a whore-house. The thought was too cruel. For the first time in all the problems that I was facing, I actually hated that I had gotten involved in the mission to Europa. Now, it seemed like I had wasted all my time. What was going to happen?
Several more days passed. My hope was gone. Lucas tried to reassure me, but it didn’t help. Nothing did. Wished I had some booze. What did I have to lose? Or maybe I could get something to smoke. My mind just checked out. I was gone. And that’s when it happened. The alarms went off.
“All hands, battle stations! Military forces closing!”
In an instant, my mind focused and I knew what had to be done. Lucas and I looked at each other. It was time to leave. I hacked into the system. All of their defense systems were focused on the fight. As suspected, the locks were controlled by a console by the wall. I hacked into a camera, jumping from one to the other, down the hall. I got to the end and saw what I was looking for. With bells on, I got into the system. The doors opened.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here!”
Lucas looked at his Band. “We’re gonna need survival suits. If this is a battle, then there’s going to be a bunch of holes in the ship!”
In an instant, I was back in the system. “Should be some in a locker connected to the cell block! This way!” We took off running. Wherever our guard was, he wasn’t eager to hang with us. The light, such as it was, suddenly went out. The gravity also lessened. I knew this!
“Mars told me that during combat, they turn off all non-vital systems, to siphon power to the critical ones!”
“We can drift then. Use the walls for balance.”
Opening the door, the alarm was blaring. People were drifting around. They didn’t even notice us. Guess that the potential to die got these people moving. We got to the supply room. These suits weren’t nearly as sleek as the ones that we had back on Europa.
“They’re older models. Made for mining work. Oh well, it’ll work!” Luc was always on top of things. Having to strip naked would have been awkward, since we had to be in the same room, but fuck it. I was too eager to be rid of this place to care. It was time to go home. While getting suited up, I got back into the system. They still had our shuttle! Good. That meant that I could still get to Angie’s necklace. All wasn’t lost. The helmets on these ones wasn’t as sexy as the last suits. They were all slotted, with each slot having a camera. It was cool, but not as cool as last time. Still, our identity was now a total secret, which worked fine for me. Now we could move quickly and not worry about being seen. I charted us a route to the Docking Bay. We were on our way!
About halfway there, it all went to hell. We were running. There was still partial gravity, in places. It was a little awkward, but we had to work with it. The two of us were heading towards the elevator when smoke and fire lit up in front of me. As I said before, all that stuff about explosive decompression is bullshit. Either you have time to get to oxygen tanks or outside the safety doors, or you’re killed in the blast. Most of the time. The chances of the kind of decompression in movies is so small that it might as well not exist. I always was one for betting against the odds.
The two of us were sucked out into space. It was amazing. Guns on this ship were sending silent blasts of death towards a series of vessels in the distance. This ship wasn’t alone. Others had joined it. There were fighters that were moving as well, but they were sleek and refined. The navy’s. These pirates were out of their depth, and I had a feeling that their captain knew it. He wasn’t an idiot.
Still, there was now the problem of the two of us floating in space.
“Lucas, what the hell are we going to do now?!”
“Remember what it was like to float in water? Same deal. These suits come equipped with jets that use little bursts of air to propel us around. Won’t take much, out here in vacuum.” A brief pause as the two of us right ourselves. This felt better. “You know a way to get to the Docking Bay?”
I had copied the ship’s layout. The Band went through a scan, feeding my ocular implants a route. “Got it! Follow me!”
The two of us were moving down the hull. It was so surreal. I looked to my right and saw a round hit! Silently, it burst open. You see vids where there is all the explosions and whatnot in space. Nope. Just silent death. The two of us moved faster, eager to be quit of this potential to die. The last stop before getting inside was an access port. Lucas saw the emergency controls and hit the switch and pulled a lever. The door popped open. We got back inside, brief sealing and we were back in the ship. Right outside the Docking Bay. I hack the door and we are in.
Like a beacon in the night, I see our shuttle! We take off running. Some of the crew asked who we were, but we didn’t bother answering. They were all too busy with stuff to care too much. We got to the entrance and I had already input the access code. Lucas had been busy too. He was already keying up the activation sequence. Before I left, I set up a link, through the shuttle, into the ship’s docking controls. If you could have seen all the craziness that was being displayed on my ocular implants as I worked, you would have been in awe. We got to the cockpit and took seats.
“Get that door open, Elle! I want to be done with this place!”
“You and me both!”
It was an emergency override that I had to go to in order to get the Docking Bay entry open. The crew knew what I was up to. There was some small-arms fire, right before I made the door fly open and the lot of them were evacuating.
“Nice work!” Luc said. “Now, get those docking clamps off and I’ll get us out!”
“You got it, boss-man!”
He gave me a look. Another menu, and we could feel the ship being released.
Like he needed to be told twice. In a flash, the shuttle was out!
“I’ve charted us a course that takes us around this mess. We shouldn’t register on their screens as the pirates, so they won’t auto-target us.”
This got my attention. “Shouldn’t we go to the military ships? I mean, they’re on our side, right?”
Disengaging his helmet, he shook his head. “No, Elle. They’re busy with the pirates. And I don’t know about you, but I’m just aching to get home. No more delays. We’re headed home!”
My heart swelled up. Never would Lucas look more awesome than he did right now, in that grungy suit, at the controls of a shuttle, with us putting the battle behind us. Just then, there was a message.
“So, you two found your way out, eh?” It was the captain of the pirate ship.
“That’s right!” Luc snarled. “Sorry to disappoint!”
The man grunted. “Hardly! If anything, I’m impressed! You two did good. See you on the other side.” The line went dead. The two of us just looked at each other. We had the same thought – what was that about? Oh well, what’s done was done. It was time to get out of the suits.
Another long day, and the two of us were buck-naked in front of each other, stripping out of the suits. This might have been awkward, had we not just been through hell together. Getting back into some clean underwear, we headed toward the pods. I took one last chance to hold Angie’s necklace, wishing I could sleep with it next to me. Alas, that wasn’t safe. Worst thing ever.
Standing next to the pods, we looked at each other.
“I’ll see you when we wake up,” Luc said, above a whisper.
I knew that a bond had been formed between us. One that would go beyond anything else. It was an amazing feeling.
Until next time, a quote,
“An imminent and painful death has a way of motivating people.” -Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 3